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Schnittke - Viola concerto

Schnittke - Viola concerto.You can download PDF sheet music of Schnittke Viola concerto at this page.

  1. Largo;Allegro Molto
  2. Allegro Molto
  3. Largo

The Viola Concerto is a marvelous example of Schnittke's powers of suggestion. The opening bars alone seem to traverse great distances in time and space. Some such certainty is found in a new idea, quite different in character, that seems to suggest the late music of Mahler or even Shostakovich. This idea in turn gives way to a suggestion of ancient religious incantation. Since its first appearance, Schnittke's Viola Concerto has made a most powerful impression wherever it has been performed, and it has been taken up by a number of soloists in different countries.

You can find Orchestral score, Viola part and Piano part here.

To view the first pages of instrument and piano part click the music sheet image.

PDF format sheet music

Viola part: 13 pages. 7184 K

Piano part: 32 pages. 4165 K
Партия viola - first page Piano part - First page
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Download PDF (14.99 €) Download PDF (14.99 €)
Orchestral score: 75 pages. 6338 K
orchestral score - first page
Download PDF (14.99 €)

The work as a whole takes the form of an arch. The opening Largo, outlining the materials of which the rest of the piece will be made, leads to a sort of toccata or motoperpetuo, in which a pounding pulse conjures up a frenetic sense of inevitable direction quite different from the apparent wasteland of what went before. The work ends with another Largo, but this time extended and developed to sum up within itself the contrasted experiences of both the previous movements.

When at first the viola solo appears above the lower strings (the work is scored without violins), the theme spells out Bashmet's name: the pitches B-flat, A, E-flat, C, B-natural, E can be freely understood as standing for B-A-(E)s-C-H-[M]E[T ]. The strings then retreat, leaving the soloist alone in the void, anxiously searching for something certain to hold on to.  At this point the whole orchestra suddenly rises up with a terrifying chord (again made up of the notes derived from Bashmet's name), a chord strongly evocative of the horrific expressionist world of Erwartung and Lulu. Finally a simple classical cadence takes over.

Schnittke's Viola Concerto also has three movements - Largo, Allegro molto, Largo - with the centre of gravity in the last, longest, and slowest. The composer tells us that the first, relatively simple movement is preludial to life's turbulent unfurling in the allegro's "restless chase", while the third movement is a "slow, sad overview of life on the threshold of death." It is hardly surprising that the second movement should be even more maniacal than the comparable movements in earlier key works like the Second String Quartet and the Third Symphony, nor that the desolation of the finale should cap even the blackest and bleakest moments in Shostakovich.  The pain of the music opens raw nerves, and the anguish and violence of the gestures may sometimes carry the piece beyond the range of music. Yet we need his courage in a world ever more dangerously predictable.

Last Updated on 18 August 2017
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